FSSAI has suggested some changes in the rules related to labelling of packaged foods though the detailed changes and the final draft is likely to be announced only in August 2014. However, the FSSAI and the food product industry have already held discussions on these proposed changes and all are in agreement that these changes will build awareness among consumers and put in place regulations that will safeguard their health.
The FSSAI in its capacity as statutory body that lays down science based standards for articles of food and regulating manufacturing, processing, distribution, sale as well as import of food under the aegis of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, has proposed these changes in the labelling of packaged foods. The suggested changes, if implemented will see amendment to The Food Safety and Standards (Packaging & Labelling) Regulations, 2011
The changes include highlighting the list of ingredients. Some additions have also been made to the mandatory list of ingredients to be mentioned on labels. Salt, sugar and transfat content will henceforth have to be displayed prominently on the labels as these ingredients are related to health issues of many consumers. The font size of the list of ingredients on the labelling is also to be made bigger.
Manufacturers will have to be careful in claiming the benefits of their products on the labels. Dr. Sesikeran chairman, FSSAI scientific panel on labelling and claims has said that such benefits will only be allowed to be mentioned on labels if manufacturers have results that scientifically prove the mentioned benefits. Moreover, the proof that the product actually offers these benefits will also have to be shown to the FSSAI. If the provided proof is acceptable to FSSAI only then will the manufacturers be allowed to print it on their labels. Manufacturers will also have to be careful how they use words on the labels as the language used should not mislead the consumer in any way.